Europe can take solar industry leadership

As Europe enters new solar growth phase, right time for industrial strategy

As the European Commission is expected to deliver a first proposal on industrial policy after summer, leading solar industry executives gathered at SolarPower Europe’s 4th High-Level Industry Forum urging the adoption of an industrial strategy for solar in Europe.

Christian Westermeier, President of SolarPower Europe and Chairman of SolarPower Europe’s Industrial Competitiveness Task Force said: “In 2019, SolarPower Europe’s Medium Scenario forecasts a European demand surge by over 80%, with more than 20 GW annual installations.  With such strong market prospects, it is now the right moment to build on Europe’s highly innovative and state of the art solar technologies, that will not only create thousands of clean energy jobs in Europe, but also accelerate the energy transition. The European Commission’s Clean Energy Industrial Forum, launched in 2018, is an exceptional opportunity to accelerate Europe’s solar industry leadership across the entire solar value chain with a particular focus on manufacturing and must be a top priority for the next cycle of EU policymakers.”

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, commented: “SolarPower Europe has been at the forefront of developing an industrial strategy for solar in Europe. In March 2019, SolarPower Europe’s Industrial Competitiveness Task Force presented a set of key recommendations to the European Commission to bring this strategy forward. Ahead of the next EU term, the European solar sector is ready to gear up and establish itself as a global leader. We look forward to continuing our work with the Commission’s Clean Energy Industrial Forum to ensure a strong industrial policy for solar in Europe.”

Taking part in the panel discussion, Giovanni Tula, CIO, Enel Green Power said: “An industrial strategy for solar aimed at developing innovative renewable technology in Europe is a vital strategic goal for a successful European industrial strategy. Enel has built the 3Sun factory in Catania (Sicily), which is one of the largest and most innovative photovoltaic production plants in Europe aiming at producing a total of about 500,000 panels a year using ground-breaking HJT technology. This project demonstrates that PV industry in Europe may have the potential to compete with mainstream technology at global level, provided that institutions are able to ensure the necessary support and the right business environment. As the proud vice-chair of SolarPower Europe’s Industrial Competitiveness Task Force, Enel Green Power is committed to shaping the right framework for EU solar manufacturing to grow along the whole value chain.”

Hans Brändle, CEO of Meyer Burger, commented “Because of its importance Solar PV must also be viewed from a geostrategical perspective. It is impressive how China’s government has fully understood solar’s potential as the world’s future dominant power source and has become a global leader both on the demand as well as on the supply side. With Europe still having excellent stakeholders in the solar research & technology field and the European market finally entering a new growth phase, it is a huge opportunity for European policymakers to create an appropriate solar industrial strategy that enables the sector to develop a meaningful, robust and competitive European solar production industry.“

Jürgen Reinert, CEO of SMA Solar Technology AG stated: “With an industrial strategy for solar, the EU can take global leadership on the existing and next generation of solar technologies. SMA, as a leading European specialist in photovoltaic system technology, supports an industrial policy for solar that can facilitate a strong and competitive European solar industry for generations to come.”

Paula Abreu-Marques, Head of Unit for “Renewables and CCS policy” in the European Commission, DG Energy delivered the keynote speech at the High-Level Industry Forum. Top executives from Enel Green Power, Meyer Burger, Belectric Solar & Battery GmbH, Sonnen eServices, SMA Solar Technology AG and Akuo Industry took part in the panel discussions at SolarPower Europe’s 4th High-Level Industry Forum held at Intersolar Europe.

For more information

Kristina Thoring – Communications Director

T: +32 2 709 55 26

Email: k.thoring@solarpowereurope.org

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